First off thank you for all the great content and builds. The knowledge here is pretty amazing and I absolutely love that the instructional are presented in a way a novice can start to grasp.
That being said, never built a computer before, and overall have limited understanding of networking/technology. COVID has started to change that as I first needed to setup my home office and now I’m hooked.
So, I built the NAS 4/5.0 as my first build and upon further reading I see that I need something to transcode if I want to use the NAS as a Plex powerhouse. To combat that I purchased two HP Prodesk 400 G4 Pentium G4560. Why two? They were $90 and this forum led me to believe if I don’t use both for the Plex setup, they will be useful for something else.
NAS to store Movies/Pictures/etc.
Allow family to connect to storage and stream video to TV’s
Allow family to add to storage (I have a 2 year old and the wife takes LOTs of pictures/videos)
When I get a bit more educated, dockers and other fun things
(apologies it won’t be in the cool format others use. All items were purchased with links from the NAS 4.0/5.0 builds. Prices of each are in line with what is stated in those links)
- [Intel Core i5-4670 CPU 3.4GHZ SR14D
- [Arctic ACFAN00135A P12 Value Pack of 5 Pressure Optimized 120 mm Cooling Fan
- [Kingston 16GB DDR3 PC3-12800u (4x4GB) DIMM 1600
- [ASUS B85M-G R2.0, LGA1150, Micro ATX Motherboard
- [LSI SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s 8-Port SAS SATA PCI-E HBA RAID Controller
- [Seagate ST6000NM0034 6TB 7.2K RPM SAS 12Gb/s 3.5" HDD 1HT27Z-001 X1
- [HGST Hitachi 2TB 7.2K SAS 3.5" Hard Drive 6Gb/s HUS723020ALS640 Server Storage X1
- [WESTERN DIGITAL 4TB 7.2K 3.5" SAS WD4001FYYG X1
- [Seagate 3TB Constellation ES.2 ST33000650SS X5
- [Cooler Master MasterWatt 550 semi-fanless
- [Cooler Master N400
- [All appropriate cables
- [No OS
- [HP Prodesk 400 G4 Pentium G4560 X2
- [8gb Ram
- [Previously purchases several SSD’s ranging from 500gb - 1T to use in projects as needed
- [No OS
Congrats and thank you if you made it this far!
- Does the NAS hardware support my Goal? I would much rather have overkill than not enough. I definitely do not need that much storage, but why not? More concerned if it will be “fast” enough and product quality results.
- What Operating System would you recommend for the NAS?
- Still learning about Transcoding. Do I have what is needed as far as hardware goes? Bit fuzzy on how these connect to the NAS. NAS – Switch – Transcoders? Thought maybe use one for 4k stuff and the other for “easier” things?
- Planning on running Quicksync on Transcoders with Ubuntu. I believe this is still the best combo?
Thanks again for all the great information on this site. 3 months ago I couldn’t have even told you want any of this jargon means (still limited). I’m really just amazed and what can be done with all of this and kicking myself that it took me 35 years to start learning!
You have drives of varying sizes, so Unraid (which is what is mostly recommended around here) would be your best bet for your NAS OS. Hardware looks fine, didn’t check compatibility though. For serving up files just about anything will do, if you are wanting to do other things on the NAS then you could need more depending on what that is.
For connecting the NAS and the transcoding boxes, you just need them all on the same network. A wired connection will be more reliable than a wireless one. Whether you need to buy a switch or not depends on what your current networking setup is.
Don’t transcode 4k content. It takes a ton of power, and if it’s HDR content the colors come out like crap. Keep the 4k content in a separate library at a minimum, or even a separate server, and only share that library/server with clients that can direct play 4k content. Have separate 1080p copies for clients that can’t handle 4k.
Ubuntu 20.04 is what’s recommended for the transcoding boxes.
Thanks for the prompt reply!
- I believe all the parts to the NAS are compatible as I used the NAS build guide (it turns on and goes to the BIOS…not sure if that means anything!)
- Thank you for the clarification on the switch. I did get a little 8 port in anticipation.
- I guess the 4k content this is still a bit over my head. I should clarify that this whole system is just a local/home thing. My initial thought is why would you want to watch/store anything that wasn’t 4k? Not transcoding 4k, does that mean that it does not need to be transcoded or if I use this NAS/Plex I will only be able to view lower quality video? Sorry probably a really dumb question!
- As for keeping the 4k separate, could I use one HP Prodesk 400 G4 for 4k and one HP Prodesk 400 G4 for everything else?
- Sub question for both the NAS and Transcoding machines: Do I need to think about upgrading the processors to get the quality I am looking for?
Sorry for all the questions. All this really is fascinating and I like to do things as close to “right the first time” as I can.
What devices will you be watching your content on? That will determine what transcoding may be necessary.
For example: at my home we have a 4k Roku TV that 95% of our viewing is done on. It is able to direct play my 4k content, no transcoding needed. That other 5% is on mobile devices, which cannot direct play 4k. If I were to try and play a 4k movie on my phone, for example, Plex would need to transcode that 4k movie down to 1080p for it to display on my phone screen. That is where you run into issues with HDR tone mapping, plus the processing power needed for the transcoding operation. QuickSync is powerful enough to do it, but much better results are achieved if you start with a 1080p source.
If everything is going to be direct play, and you are doing local only, then you may not need a separate Plex server at all as you won’t be transcoding the video. Some people keep their 4k content on a separate server hosted directly on the NAS and disable any transcoding. For myself I just keep it as a separate library and don’t share it with my remote users.
When it comes to QuickSync, the generation of the processor is much more important than the power of the processor. I have the Prodesk 400 G4 for my server, and kept the Pentium in it as it is ONLY used for Plex.
EDIT: I should add that you need Plex Pass to utilize QuickSync hardware transcoding, in case you didn’t know that already.
This is great information.
So very similar to what you use for watching. I would agree that 95% would be on TV’s (Samsung 4k’s). I guess I don’t know if there is transcoding needed!
- Setup NAS with Unraid
- Use the Prodesk as a dedicated Plex server
- Separate file for 4k
- Get Plex Pass
- Use other Prodesk for something else!
If I got that all right, I am VERY grateful for steering me in the right directing!
I’ve got Unraid up and running. Loaded more than running as I haven’t done anything more than initial setup and disk format/partition.
In the Unraid documents there are a lot of sample type builds which I am sure is common knowledge to everyone. My take away though is that it seems like most of the builds are using the Intel i7 -4XXX.
Since my NAS is in its infancy, wondering if I should follow something similar to this as again there is nothing on the drives/nothing configured/nothing to lose? Again, I’d rather go too big than too small since all this is so much fun who knows what I will want to try in a month! Looks like the i7-4790 is compatible with my Motherboard. Current Overall Load with the i5 is hovering around 10-15% with it just being turned on.
Pretty geeked out though. It took about 2 months for all the parts to come in and I didn’t think I would even make it this far!
Other than hosting files for Plex, what do you plan to use your NAS for?
I’d lean towards sticking with what you have and only looking to upgrade if you see a need.